Authors Posts by Austin Kaluba

Austin Kaluba



By Austin Kaluba

Austin Kaluba
Austin Kaluba
Whenever I hear a song or poem romanticizing everything African, my blood runs cold because just like Europe, Africa has got its own share of social ills both man-made or externally orchestrated.

A classic example of this unbridled idealistic praise for the continent is found in most songs sang by Rastafarian musicians who paint Africa as if it was some Utopia , Nirvana or Shambala.

Rastafarians using their belief which I consider to be an escapist faith have deafened our ears by romanticizing Africa likening her to an innocent, beautiful and unblemished woman.

Their better informed counterparts-the writers mostly poets also consider Africa as a virgin or a Madonna usually depicted as a mother holding her children in loving arms.

I feel this symbolism to be misleading and highly fantastical considering the other side of Africa that is just the opposite of what singers and writers depict.

For Rastafarian singers maybe we can partially blame the glorification of Africa since most of them hail from wretched backgrounds in the Jamaican ghettos a background that would make them look elsewhere for an ideal heaven on earth.

For African writers, many who were influenced by the first crop of nationalists and negritude writers who used Africanness to fight Western norms indiscriminately, the idealization of Africa manifests in some of their works.
These negritude nationalists and writers included Kwame Nkrumah, George Padmore, Leopold Senghor, Julius Nyerere and our own Kenneth Kaunda (remember those Kentes he used to wear).

Even when the nationalistic fervour was in the air in the 60’s, some African thinkers like Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka and exiled South African writer the late Ezekiel Mphalele were nauseated by the venerating of everything African.

Wole Soyinka’s famed outburst about the tiger and the tigritude is one classic example of reminding the dreamy poets that it was folly for them to deafen the world on who we are as Africans.

The late South African Eskia Mpahlele was so outspoken in his evaluation of Negritude in the 60s that he was in due course forced to defend himself against charges of “hindering or frustrating the protest literature of negritude and its mission”.

Hence, in his 1963 essay entitled, “On Negritude in Literature”, Mpahlele avers that his hostility to that Francophonic body of work is based on the fact that:

“Too much of the poetry inspired by it romanticizes Africa-as a symbol of innocence, purity, and artless primitiveness. I feel insulted when some people imply that Africa is not also a violent continent. I am a violent person and proud of it because it is often a healthy human state of mind; someday I’m going to plunder, rape, set things on fire, I’m going to cut somebody’s throat; I’m going to subvert a government; I’m going to organize a coup d’etat; yes, I’m going to oppress my own people; I’m going to hunt the rich fat black men who bully the small weak black men and destroy them; I’m going to become a capitalist, and woe to all who cross my path or who want to be my servants or chauffeurs and so on; I’m going to lead a breakaway church there is money in it; I’m going to attack the black bourgeoisie while I cultivate a garden, rear dogs and parrots; listen to jazz and classics, read “culture”, and so on. Yes, I’m going to organize a strike. Don’t you know that sometimes I kill to the rhythm of drums and cut the sinews of a baby to cure it of paralysis? This is only a dramatization of what Africa can do and is doing. The image of Africa consists of all these, and others. And negritude poetry pretends that they do not constitute the image and leaves them out. So we are told only half-often even a falsified half-of the story of Africa.”

I feel this quote from Mphahlele’s essay is closer to the Africa I know not the romanticized elusive one I hear about in songs or read in fairy-tale literature.

Austin Kaluba
Austin Kaluba

Sorry for the long silence. I have been busy working on my short stories to be published in England. I have also been researching stuff for Old Grooves and Down Memory Lane.
This week I will look at colonial Zambia as we listen to Billy Vaughn (remember the song was played on ZNBC).

1. ‘Natives’ who were recruited to join the mines were examined naked to determine if they hard physical blemishes. White captains rejected those with diseases, scars or any other deformity. The African miners were lined up regardless of age and their members poked with a stick to determine if they were fit to work underground. This racist practice infuriated Africans.
2. Male servants who worked as domestic hands for whites were envied by women who wanted gifts rejected by their white employers. They included wigs, jewellery, clothes and food. Servants would sneak women in the servant quarters for sex. Africans would ravage dust bins for food and anything they found useful. A popular musician Tolomeo (Bathlomew) Bwalya sang a song about an unfortunate man who found a still born child in a dustbin.
3. Despite African’s consciousness of white settler’s cruelty they discovered their own shortcomings. Tolomeo Bwalya sang a song Taxi Driver in which he compares the behavior of African motorists and whites hailing the latter as being considerate. Another earlier work song Umusungu Tapata Muntu lampoons overzealous Kapitaos (captain) who in a bid to win favours from white bosses mistreated African workers. The lines in the songs goes: Umusungu tapapata muntu/ba kapitao mulomo.
4. The white colonialists helped to instill tribalism by promoting stereotypes. The favoured people from Eastern province as being faithful and hardworking. Northerners were shunned because they were considered troublemakers. Nyasas from Malawi were usually employed to do white collar jobs while Lambas were considered to be good for domestic work. Up until the 70’s short men were rarely employed in the security wing till this consideration was hotly challenged.
5. As in South Africa, both wage and job discrimination on the basis of race was practiced in colonial Zambia. Whites doing the same jobs as blacks earned more, while the more lucrative skilled work was reserved for whites. Blacks were prohibited from forming trade unions to level the bargaining playing field through collective action.
6. Between the privileged elite and the hewers of wood and drawers of water lay a small intermediate class of South Asian traders and craftsmen and those of mixed race parentage. Aware of this privilege, Asians taunted Africans in ci-Lapalapa Lo country ka wena, lo mali ka mina-the country is yours but the money is mine. Zambians of mixed race also looked down on Africans and exaggerated their white side of parentage living in ‘coloured’ quarters like Thornpak in Lusaka, coloured quarters in Kitwe and Hillcrest in Ndola.
7. The ruthless government of Northern Rhodesia by the BSAC came to an end in 1924, when the administration of the territory was taken over by the Colonial Office. The ideology of the colonial administration was paternalistic, stressing the civilizing activities of administrators, missionaries and settlers in meeting the needs of the Africans of the territory. The practice, on the other hand, was frankly racist and exploitative. The territory was not developed to become an integrated, balanced economy serving the needs of the population, but rather to serve the interests of the British economy as a supplier of raw materials and labour and as a site of profit extraction. The best land was reserved for whites and no efforts were made to develop indigenous agriculture or manufacturing, or to share the profits of mining with the colonized. This imbalance created a dependence syndrome of the part of the Africans whose only meaningful source of income was to work for foreigners.
8. The impact of formal education on language consolidation was reinforced by trends in the popular media. In 1936 the colonial government began to publish the African newspaper Mutende as a response to the Watch Tower Movement’s publication The Watch Tower, by that time, in wide circulation aroundt he protectorate. Published in Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga, Lozi, and English, Mutende reached a peak circulation of 18,000 during the war years.
9. Even more important than newspapers was radio broadcasting like the “Saucepan Special,” an inexpensive battery-operated radio set developed specifically for the Northern Rhodesian African population. Thousands of Africans had access to radio in Northern Rhodesia by the 1950s. The Northern Rhodesian Broadcasting Service was the first radio service in Africa to allocate significant air time- fully 72 percent in 1952-to programming in vernacular languages-Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga, and Lozi were chosen, with English, as the languages of Northern Rhodesian broadcasting. Because radio reached such a large population, the choice of these languages had a critical impact on patterns of language consolidation in the country-more, in all likelihood, than the educational system, which directly touched fewer people. Radio was considered an authentic source of information thus the ci-Bemba phrase ‘Radio taibepa.’
10. The British colonial government banned the consumption by Africans of all European-type alcoholic drinks and placed tight restrictions on the brewing and sale of grain beers.
The ‘natives’ raised complaints at the monopoly European brewers enjoyed. This monopoly left women brewers in the dark. Beginning in the mid-1950s this anger erupted in a series of protests and boycotts on the Copper belt. The anger was directed against municipal beer halls. The protesters, many of whom were women, opposed the exclusion of Africans from a potentially lucrative sector of trade.



Austin Kaluba

One is a Zambian multimillionaire, while the other one holds an important position in the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) only second to the head of state, the almighty Michael Chilufya Sata.

Both have inflated egos and feel PF and Zambia owes them a lot for taking the opposition party to power.

The other similarity the two arch-rivals share is lacking political clout other than being found in the right party at the right time.

They are Defence Minister Godfrey Bwalya Mwamba gangsterishly known as GBM and a quaintly-named party Secretary General Wynter Kabimba, a failed lawyer cum-politician.

Kabimba (l) GBM (r)

Needlessly to say despite GBM and Kabimba being political lightweights, both are important figures in Zambians politic which has seen their egos clashing like two bull elephants in the Luangwa valley.

With these visible inadequacies on both parties, what is the source of GBM and Kabimba’s arrogance? One bankrolled millions of Kwacha to the once cash-strapped PF while the other one has been in PF through thick and thick shortly when its founder Sata formed the party after being disappointed by the second republican president Frederick Chiluba’s choice of Levy Mwanawasa to succeed him as president.

The trillion Kwacha question is who is Sata backing in this nasty fight between the two madly ambitious politicians who have outgrown their boots?

DEFENCE Minister Geoffrey Mwamba

Sata who seems to regret having usurped power in the twilight of his life is not comfortable with both though he supports a lesser evil against the other adversary who having reached dizzy heights in acquiring wealth is eyeing both the party presidency and that coveted Edwardian building they call State House.

The Northerner President is not very comfortable with the millionaire GBM and seems to favour Kabimba for convenience’s sake because he is not a serious threat between the two political charlatans.

When he arrived from South Korea, Sata theatrically hugged Kabimba pumping his hands in a body language that needs no explanation from an expert.

He thanked Kabimba and told him that he had been following the fight between the two politicians and supported the secretary general over the defence minister.

Sata indirectly congratulated Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba for sustaining the fight between him and his ministry of defence counterpart GBM.
The president greeted Kabimba and asked him how he was faring in the power fight with GBM and wondered why GBM was not at the airport to welcome him.
But Vice President Scott, blocked the excited Kabimba from responding to the president publicly and instead offered to brief the president once he got to State House.

Wynter Kabimba
At last knowing where the wind was blowing, GBM shunned Sata’s returned while the government-loyal and pro-PF Post Newspaper continued its negative publicity onslaught against the defence minister.
GBM has been sidelined from other government activities in the recent past, but his supporters in Kasama where he is area member of parliament have warned him against stepping down.
His supporters protested at The Post newspaper provincial office and threatened to burn down the office equipment if the workers there did not withdraw the newspaper from the street which carried a negative story of GBM.
On the surface all seems well with GBM and Kabimba playing to the gallery by hugging publically and smiling like Cheshire cats but behind the closed doors there is bitter rivalry between Sata, a Bisa from Mpika and GBM, a Bemba from Kasama who thinks he has what it takes to go a step further in the political boots of his elderly boss.

However, despite his political naiveté, the multimillionaire has somehow realised that he is sitting on a shaky throne and avowed his loyalty to Sata and PF and denying the accusation that he wants to form a political party.

In short GBM is like a cheating wife who out of guilt approaches her husband to defend her fidelity without being accused of sleeping around.

As the two amateur politicians slug it out, Sata who is enjoying wearing the mantle of a master dribbler copied from Chiluba looks on from the side ring sizing the two combatants favouring a lesser evil between the two.

Only time will tell who will fall between the two power-hungry but politically-incompetent politicians./End.

Related other websites Links

The Five Revolutions was a popularly known Zambian Ndola-based band comprising of Chris Mbewe (guitar, vocals), Zion Lofwa (bass), Abel Mukubwe (drums), Hank Mukumbo (guitar), John Mwansa (vocals).

They released several hits in the mini music renaissance of the 70’s.

The Five Revolutions Band sang on the dangers of Kachasu consumption, the illicit beer that is brewed in Zambia./

Austin Kaluba

Our political correspondent Austin Kaluba traces the significance of political parties in Zambia; from UNIP that values Mulungushi Rock, to MMD’s reverence of Garden House Motel. but ask where the PF was formed. Is it at Farmers House?

To UNIP members, the name Mulungushi has a lot of significance to the genesis of the party because this is the place where resolutions that led to the attainment of independence were made in 1960.
Later after the party ruled for almost three decades, reformists calling for reversion to plural politics met at Garden House Motel in Lusaka and formed the National Interim Committee for Multiparty Democracy.
The name was later changed to the Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) a party that came into power in 1991 ushering in a new generation in what was popularly called as the ‘new culture.’
After ruling for 20 years, a former MMD leader Michael Sata formed the Patriotic Front (PF) and against all odds won elections in September last year.
So if Mulungushi Rock is synonymous to the formation of UNIP and Garden House Motel to MMD where was the PF formed?
Coming back to the significance of origins of parties, can we identify Sata’s former residence in Omelo Mumba or Farmers House, the party headquarters as being synonymous to the birth of PF?
It is interesting to note how seemingly unimportant places acquire significance entering historical books as the origins of milestones decisions that change the course of a country’s history.
This is also true of the history of some Zambian tribes that hold particular totems in high esteem because of their significance to the tribe’s origin.
For example when the Bembas came to Zambia from the Congo, they wandered far and wide in the region before finding a permanent settlement in Northern Province.
The scouts who were looking for land to settle saw a carcass of a crocodile and since the totem of a crocodile represents the clan of of abena Ng’andu clans to which Bembas belong, this was a sign that the spirits had welcomed them.
For the Ngonis, the crossing of the mighty Zambezi River during the solar eclipse has great significance in the tribes history.
In England Lancaster House has great political and historical significance since the Wars of the Roses thus called because the emblem of roses was used by two rival families. The red rose was a symbol for the Lancaster House and a white rose for the House of York.
After a series of wars, the Lancaster House emerged victorious and since then the name ‘Lancaster’ has historical significance in English history.
And in Zambia, the name Mulungushi was so important to the UNIP government that several institutions, transportation companies and buildings were named after the place.
Some of these institutions like Mulungushi University and Mulungushi Conference Centre have survived retaining the name that defined the future of the country after UNIP wrestled power from colonial masters.
In Lusaka In 1960 , Zambia then called Northern Rhodesia, itself named after the pioneer and imperialist Cecil Rhodes, nationalists who had broken away from the moderate Zambian African National Congress (ANC) wanted to convene a conference under the banner of a new party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP) to determine how to achieve independence.
The nationalists thought of meeting in a place where they would not be under the all watchful eye of the colonial authorities who were ruthless in crashing nationalist aspiration using batons and Black Maria vans, an ordeal that many freedom fighters dreaded.
A secluded site was chosen on a rocky area by the Mulungushi River north of Kabwe where up to 2000 participants met in the open air and camp in temporary shelters, which had a good supply of water.
The conference’s resolutions eventually led to UNIP attaining power under the leadership of Kenneth Kaunda, and thereafter the Mulungushi Rock gained much significance and was used for UNIP party conferences and for major policy speeches such as the Mulungushi Declaration or Mulungushi Reforms in 1968.
Later it became known as the ‘Mulungushi Rock of Authority’ and it has been used by other political parties for their party conferences and major speeches..
After UNIP ruled for 27 years reformists started calling for change insisting Zambia should revert to multipartism. The idea was a brain child of academician, writer and political activist Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika.

From July 20th to July 21st, 1990, meetings were held at Garden House Motel in Lusaka by a group of determined Zambians who later included Frederick Chiluba. Others included VJ Mwaanga, Arthur Wina and Sikota Wina.

The meetings quickly gained momentum and a National Interim Committee for Multiparty Democracy was formed with Arthur Wina as its chairman and Chiluba as the head of the committee.
Chiluba has wrongly been called the initiator of multi party politics in Zambia which is highly erroneous since he was nowhere near the organisers in the initial stages.
However, Chiluba was most favoured to stand as president when elections were held because of the national popularity he already commanded as President of the Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU), an organisation that cut along tribal, regional and even institutional barriers.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that it was Chiluba who suggested the change of name from National Interim Committee to Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) a catchier name that was adopted unanimously.

In 1991, Chiluba and the MMD led Zambia back to multiparty politics in what is now known as the Third Republic.

After staying in power for 20 years only seven years shy of the UNIP’s long record which MMD members had condemned as being too long, the PF changed history by removing the second ruling party from power in 2011.
Unlike UNIP and MMD which were formed by a group of people, the PF formed in 2001 was a brainchild of its founder Michael Sata. The party was formed after Chiluba lost a bid to change the constitution to allow him to stand for third term.
Being the most competent leader to replace Chiluba, Sata who thought he would be endorsed as the MMD presidential candidate was disappointed when Chiluba personally nominated Mwanawasa and voted for him to be the presidential candidate.
The choice of Mwanawasa upset Sata who had supported Chiluba’s third term bid so much that he left the MMD to form his own political party.

The PF’s doesn’t seem to have a place where it was formed as is the case with UNIP and MMD.
It is mostly like to have been formed by Sata himself at his Omelo Mumba residence. Its headquarters is at Farmers House along Cairo Road./End…

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